'A family that prays together stay together' is a quote on a plaque that dominated the living rooms of most Kenyans on the nineties.
In the movie Fighting With My Family, one could say that a family that wrestles together stays together.
Fighting With My Family is a delightful true story of grit, perseverance and a family’s quest to achieve their dream of becoming WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Champions.
Growing up in the 80s, the wrestling programme WWE Smackdown was the programme to watch and we were all glued to our seats watching our favourite wrestlers.
The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Randy Savage are amongst the wrestlers that we were familiar with during the golden era of wrestling (1985-1992).
The whole country watched only one channel; KBC, this was before the onset of other channels in the 90s.
FAMILY RUNS A GYM
In Fighting With My Family, we are introduced to the Knight family where the patriarch Ricky (Nick Frost) a former wrestler and his wife Julia (Lena Headey) who live in Norwich in the UK, introduce their two children Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya (Florence Pugh) to wrestling as a family business.
The family runs a gym in the community where they live, where they also train young children interested in wrestling and also hold local matches where they all wrestle each other in well-choreographed fights.
The family is nursing a dream, to one day have Zack and Saraya fight in the WWE and to this end, they are always sending their demo tapes for consideration but getting turned down.
This doesn’t deter their resolve and they continue sending them until one day, they succeed in getting a nod for Zak and Saraya to try out for the WWE.
The two pack their bags and leave their emotional parents and friends and travel to the USA to pursue their WWE dream.
I’m a sucker for cameo appearances by celebrities in movies where they appear as themselves and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson makes his appearance in this one.
The siblings are naturally awe struck to be in the midst of a superstar that they grew up idolising on TV and putting up his poster on their bedroom walls.
The siblings quickly realise that they are no longer in Kansas as the try-outs are grueling both physically and mentally.
The trainer Hutch (Vince Vaughn) is tough and does not wait in putting them through their paces and ensuring they understand what is required in becoming a WWE Champion.
At the end of the try-outs, Saraya is the only one chosen and immediately, this drives a wedge between the two siblings as they have always been a wrestling duo and the expectation was that both of them would be selected.
The movie is well written and the dialogue is fast-flowing. Be ready for lots of swearing, the British are quite good at it and the Knight family isn’t ashamed to express themselves as fully and as freely as possible.
One particularly funny scene is where the Knights are having dinner with the parents of Zack’s girlfriend Courtney (Hannah Rae); Hugh (Stephen Merchant) and Daphne (Julia Davis) who are meeting the Knights for the first time and are overwhelmed by their colourful personality.
Zak and Saraya stop talking to each other and this impacts Saraya’s training that she starts in Florida.
Isolated and unable to fit in with the other girls, she is desperate for a friend and this makes her homesick and she contemplates leaving the training.
Her parents are appalled and Zak is angry since he yearns for that opportunity of a lifetime and he resents his sister for trying to walk away from it.
In the end, the two siblings make up and Saraya who selects the fighting name ‘Paige ‘goes on to complete the training and get the chance to wrestle for the title of Divas Champion from the reigning title holder AJ. Lee.
She wins in a spectacular fashion and becomes the youngest ever title holder.
The movie teaches a lot about pursuing ones dream against the odds and the importance of family support.